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Longboat Key Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 1 month ago

Longboat Key has new generation

For the first time in decades, a majority of commissioners will be under age 70. Will that change the town’s path? Meantime, Florida has a post-election challenge: how to keep Florida Florida.
by: Matt Walsh Editor & CEO

Observations and comment — local, state and national — while remaining unconvinced that, in the face of ample, deliberate, egregious election irregularities, lying Joe Biden (“I never talked to Hunter about his business”) won the presidential election legitimately …


New generation takes over on Longboat

Longboat Key has been experiencing a generational transition for about the past decade.

Retirees of the greatest generation and silent generation gradually have been giving way to the vast pool of baby boomers who are giving up their professional careers for the next phases of their lives.

That shift became amplified recently when the deadline passed for Longboat Key citizens to file to run for seats on the Town Commission. Come March 2021, there won’t be any competitive elections for the three seats that were on the town rotation to be filled.

Instead, one incumbent, Mike Haycock, was unopposed and will retain his seat automatically, and two first-time Town Commission candidates, also unopposed, will automatically be elected — Penelope “Penny” Gold and Debra Williams.

With Gold and Williams joining the Town Commission, they are making history.

For one, this will be the first time since the town incorporated in 1955 that four women will serve at the same time on the commission. In the town’s 65-year history, there have been only five times when two women served simultaneously on the commission (see box).

More noteworthy is the generational change — in age and Town Commission experience.

When longtime Commissioner George Spoll and Commissioner Jack Daly leave the commission in March, this will be the first time in decades that a majority of commissioners will be under the age of 70. Haycock and Ed Zunz are over the 70 threshold.

What’s more, the commissioners will have the least amount of experience in terms of years served since the 1950s, when the town was in its infancy.

In its present composition, commissioners Spoll, Daly and Zunz have 20 years of Town Commission service combined, while Vice Mayor Haycock, Mayor Ken Schneier and commissioners BJ Bishop and Sherry Dominick will have seven years of combined service. Total: 27 years.

But after Spoll and Daly leave office, the new commission will have 12 years of commission experience combined.

Contrast that with the commission from 2017. The seven commissioners serving then totaled 48 years on the Town Commission. That amount of experience was typical throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. And it created an often expressed opinion around town that the Town Commission was a closed men’s club.

No longer.

It’s a new generation for the Town Commission. And with this new generation, one question to be answered is whether there will be any major policy changes.

For 65 years, those who have been elected or appointed to the commission have followed one path consistently: to keep Longboat Longboat by being fiscally conservative and strict about density limits and zoning.

Early indications from the newest and incoming commissioners are they are not inclined to deviate from that path. That formula, to a great extent, has made Longboat Key what it is.

As Mayor Ken Schneier told us, the prevailing thinking remains to keep Longboat Longboat, “but we need to adapt to the present and future.” Examples of the latter, he says, include the underground utilities project, new cellphone infrastructure and continuing the tradition of beach renourishment.

But going forward, more than ever before, the new generation of commissioners will be confronted with the growing pressures to redevelop the 40- and 50-year-old condo complexes that do not measure up to market demands.

You know the saying: If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We trust the new generation of commissioners will be up to the challenge of keeping Longboat Longboat — and will adopt the policies that will make the town stronger and better.


Florida’s challenge: Keep Florida Florida

To an extent, you can interpret Florida’s presidential election results as delivering two messages.

One is that a majority of Floridians want Florida to remain what it is — a free state where individual liberty and entrepreneurial capitalism are superior to the state and statism.

By voting to reelect Donald Trump, a majority of Floridians declared their support for the policies Trump pursued over the past four years: religious freedom, life, jobs, low taxes, low regulation, protecting the Second Amendment, judicial originalism, strong military and strong national defense, legal immigration, law and order, educational choice and no more lockdowns.

The other message that can be interpreted is that Floridians rejected what Joe Biden represents — the undoing of everything that Donald Trump pursued, a return to the Obama policies of expanding Statism and government power and a rejection of our national heritage and our republic as we’ve known them (e.g. Chuck Schumer: “Now we take Georgia, then we change America.”)

There’s another important message in the election aftermath. Given the presumed outcome of the presidential election, Floridians are now presented with a serious challenge: how to keep Florida Florida and not let it lose what makes it the dynamic state that it is.

One step toward that is this: We’ve all read and heard how people are fleeing the high-tax, high-regulation, miserable states in the Northeast and heading to Florida. We need to keep reminding these newcomers why they’ve come to Florida: to flee the failed government policies that made their states the intolerable, overly expensive  dumps that they have become.


Trump should get credit for vaccine

It’s a safe bet you won’t find any national media outfit giving Donald Trump and labeling the new COVID-19 vaccine the “Trump Vaccine.”

But that’s what it should be called.

True, BioNTech of Germany and Pfizer developed the first vaccine to be approved for use in the U.S. Moderna Inc. has one waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval. And there are 57 others around the world in clinical trials on humans.

But if you want to be honest about the record time in which the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine came to market, you have to acknowledge that Trump became the leading catalyst and champion for the development of a vaccine when he announced Operation Warp Speed on May 15, 2020.

In typical Trump fashion, he told the press gaggle: “It’s called Operation Warp Speed. That means big, and it means fast, a massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project. … It’s risky. It’s expensive. But we’ll be saving massive amounts of time. We’ll be saving years if we do this properly. And that’s what we’re doing.”

And that’s what happened — ahead of schedule.

When Trump announced Operation Warp Speed, he set a target date for distribution of January 2021. Its first shipments in the U.S. started this past Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal news section, not one to give much credit for anything Trump has done, said this Saturday in a front-page story: “Even for jaded pharmaceutical scientists, what happened … was little short of miraculous.”

Prior to the new COVID-19 vaccine, the fastest a new vaccine was developed and distributed was in 1967 with a mumps vaccine. Typically, it take a decade to introduce a new vaccine.

To be sure, the scientists at BioNTech and Pfizer did the work at a miraculous pace and deserve major accolades for their accomplishment.

But whenever any new product comes to market in record, miraculous time, there is usually a champion who initiates, pushes and motivates people to achieve the goal.

It won’t happen now. But let’s hope history acknowledges the truth: Donald Trump was the leading catalyst and champion for developing the vaccine.


D.C. media ruining it for all the others

Just to show once again how the national press is so unrelentingly anti-Trump and slanted in its reporting, read the Washington Post’s so-called “news” story this past Saturday  announcing the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

In the second paragraph of the story, the Post referred to the FDA’s approval as a “historic authorization.” But in the third paragraph, the anti-Trump slamming begins:

“The FDA action came after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to be prepared to submit his resignation if the agency did not clear the vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.”

Rather than follow that paragraph with statements from Meadows or Hahn, which most respectable newspapers would do, it wasn’t until the second-last paragraph of the 18-paragraph story that the Post reported its slam against Meadows was false:

“Hahn, in a statement Friday, dismissed reports that his job was threatened. ‘This is an untrue representation of the phone call with the Chief of Staff,’ he said. ‘The FDA was encouraged to continue working expeditiously on Pfizer-BioNTech’s EUA request. FDA is committed to issuing this authorization quickly, as we noted in our statement this morning.’”

The D.C. press is ruining what was a noble industry, especially for those who do it right.

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